KANSAS CITY, Mo. – It’s arguably the biggest topic of debate in Kansas City right now. The city says the terminals at KCI must go, but some say demolition is not the answer.
Deputy Director of Aviation at Kansas City International Airport Justin Meyer took us through the basement of terminal A. He said, “Infrastructure doesn’t last forever. I-70 needs to be addressed. The Buck O’Neil Bridge needs to be addressed. This facility is nearing the end of its useful life.”
He said problems at all 3 terminals are the same. Cracks in concrete, lines on the wall from leaking water, materials that have been in place 45 years.
Dan Coffey is with Citizens For Responsible Government. He’s against the city’s proposed $1 billion plan to tear down the existing setup and build a single terminal. Coffey said, “The fact that they’re trying to make everybody think oh they’re in bad shape, you’ve got all this damage and all this we really need to have a new terminal, that’s a manufactured story.”
Meyer said cost and benefit of the city’s plan far outweigh renovation. He said, “This facility has worked well for 45 years, but the world has changed in the way that airlines operate; bigger airplanes and fuller airplanes, higher load factors, which means that there are more people that we’re trying to put through the checkpoint at the same time or into a small gate area at the same time.”
He said the airlines will cover the cost, taxpayers won’t pay a cent, and that’s the way it’s always been. “That’s really an unsubstantiated concern, well maybe an airline will go out of business and then taxpayers will have to pay. There’s a long list of airlines that have gone out of business. Taxpayers have never paid for Kansas City International Airport.”
Coffey said the idea is fine – but what happens if the airlines can’t cover their commitments? “When the day comes that all of a sudden, their income isn’t what it needs to be to cover that debt, then who is it going to fall on? It’s going to fall on the taxpayers. The whole thing is a ploy and they’re not, we don’t think, being honest with the voters in Kansas City, Missouri.”
The city wants you to vote YES Tuesday to a new KCI. Citizens for Responsible Government wants you to vote no.